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Duane Blesz
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Obituary for Duane Blesz

Duane Eugene Blesz, 85, passed on to eternal life on Good Friday, April 14th. He was born January 11, 1932, in Altoona, Iowa to Martin and Blanche Blesz. He married the love of his life, Emma Marie Fazio, on November 22, 1956 in Des Moines. Duane received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Drake University and his Master’s Degree in School Psychology from the University of Iowa. Duane enjoyed his career as a school psychologist. Duane was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and with his wife, Emma, was a lay Oblate, associated with Conception Abbey.

Duane’s intellect was a defining quality throughout his life. Whether it was a crossword puzzle or a book club, he loved to engage his mind. He built us toy chests, a treehouse, and he built the deck, and then was around to fix what broke, or when we felt broken. With his wisdom and grace, he gave us advice and showed up when we needed him most. This in undoubtedly due to his strong devotion to his faith, which only grew throughout his life. He directed the church choir, participated in faith sharing groups with Emma, and read the Christmas Story each year to his family.

Duane was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. His priority was to make his family happy. Quality time for him included grilling burgers, watching Iowa Hawkeye football and basketball, preparing campfire packets, serving root beer floats, making popcorn, taking trips to the park with his grandchildren, playing tennis, camping, and bike riding. He was a ping pong champion while in the Army and passed his knowledge of the game on to his family. The reason we have all mastered the sliced serve is due to his teaching abilities and patience.

Duane was dependable and he had the ability to make you feel special. His unfailing effort to be present in our lives gave us the confidence to understand his constant love for us. Whether it was to attend a sporting event, help with last-minute school projects, or a treasured “Happy Birthday” song done in harmony with Emma, Duane’s selfless devotion to his family was apparent. He had the patience of a saint and the practicality of a scientist. He was a man of few words but much wisdom. He taught us patience, loyalty, and the value of unconditional love.

His greatest joy was spending time with his family. Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Emma; his four children, David (Dana) Blesz; Dale Blesz (Susan) and his children Paul, John, Joe, and Mary; Lynne Vestal and her children Hannah and Elizabeth; and Mary Van Sant (Dave) and her children William and Zach. He is preceded in death by his son, Charles John Blesz.

The visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18 with a Rosary at 7 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday morning, April 19 at 10:30 a.m. also at St. Francis. Burial will follow at Glendale Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made out to the family to be used for the charity of their choice.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Duane Blesz, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events





5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

7075 Ashworth Road
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266





10:30 AM
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

7075 Ashworth Road
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

Cemetery Details


Glendale Cemetery

4909 University Ave
Des Moines, Iowa 50311


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